This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Asparagus sativa C. B. Asparagus officinalis Linn. Asparagus: a perennial plant, cultivated for culinary use. In the spring appear a number of straight naked shoots; which, rising to the height of two or three feet, divide into slender, firm, spreading branches, clothed with soft, green, capillary leaves: the flowers are of a pale greenish colour, and succeeded by shining red berries.
† Pulv. ce-phalicus Ph. Ed.
‡ Pulv. afari compositus Ph. Lond.
The young shoots of asparagus, boiled, are supposed to promote appetite, but afford little nourishment. They give a strong fetid smell to the urine in a little time after being eaten, and for this reason have by some been accounted useful diuretics, by others injurious to the kidneys. It does not appear, from common experience, that they possess either of these qualities in any considerable degree*(a).
The roots of the plant, which are the part principally employed for medicinal purposes, are less agreeable in taste than the young shoots, and supposed to be more aperient and diuretic: they appear to be similar, in virtue as in taste, to the roots of fennel, parsley, and the others commonly called aperient, to which they have been sometimes joined in apozems and infusions. It is observable, that neither the roots, nor the slalks when grown up so as to part into branches, give any ill smell to the urine.